SUPER green bowl for dinner

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green bowl dinner

Dear Diary,

It’s now officially SIX MONTHS until my wedding… and I can’t believe it!  It still feels so far away, but I know that it will be here before I know it.  Thank goodness I’ve been maintaining my lifestyle of healthy eating and regular exercise– because the last thing I want to do is starve myself with a diet a month before the wedding… am I right?!  But between work, exercise and evening/weekend plans, it’s been tough to find the time to experiment with new recipes!  So when I recently wet to this amazing NYC Vegan restaurant for a “spicy green bowl”, I was not only HOOKED, but I realized I could easily tweak it and make it my own!  In my book, what makes something a super GREEN bowl is portions… make sure that you are making 50% of the bowl steamed greens!  The rest is a great mix of carbs and protein, perfectly spiced with the miracle spices: cayenne and turmeric, of course :)

super green bowl

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED/DO

  • half a sweet potato (clean skin with a veggie safe brush instead of peeling– the skin has tons of nutrients!)

chop up into bite size pieces and then toss with sunflower oil (higher burning point compared to traditional olive oil) and dashes of cayenne, turmeric, salt and pepper

place in a 400 degree oven until crispy and tender

  • In a microwave safe bowl, steam frozen broccoli and kale
  • then on another cooking sheet bake chickpeas, click here for the recipe… they are delicious snack on their own!  Full of protein and healthy carbs!
  • Lastly, poach an egg and combine!  Egg poaching is really easy– just boil water and add a couple of tbsps of white vinegar to settle the boil… then gently add an egg.  Stir egg slightly to help it create shape and let it cook for about 10 minutes!

green bowl

Now how easy is that!  It’s delicious, it’s healthy, and it’s the perfect go to meal after a long day!

You’re welcome SFGs! ;)

 

The TRUTH about your late 20s

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SFG DIARY TWENTY- SOMETHING

Dear Diary,

What’s the truth about your late 20’s?  Well, the world has lied to us!… You think by the time you get to your late twenties, you’d have it all together… dream job, dream man… money to shop, money for vacations… and on top of all that, you’d be secure with who you are (finally)… and feel 100% confident in your own skin.  But, yeah… that doesn’t happen so easily.  My friends and I have a motto:

Life Sucks: I’m 27.

When we were sixteen, we couldn’t wait to be twenty-one, and by twenty-five, I kept thinking that this new fabulous phase known as our “late twenties” was right on the horizon… but by the time I got here, I realized that there is still A LOT I’m trying to figure out.

I’ve had this conversation with friends and family, time and time again… we all think the grass is always greener; that our friends, family, or even complete strangers have it all figured out while we’re stuck in the dark… but what I realized last night at a fabulous blogger event, with some fabulous ladies… is that we are all in the same boat.  As a generation, we’re in this together!

“Having it all” is a fleeting feeling…  but at the event last night, after a 10 hour day at work, a wardrobe change in the car, and an eyeliner touch-up that nearly caused a car accident… I was feeling refreshed and inspired.  I was sipping champagne, being pampered by beauty experts, and was mingling with some of my blogger and entertainment idols.  A beautiful business owner (with killer shoes and perfect hair I might add) and I began a conversation over cocktails and lip gloss; the fun girl-talk revealed to be more serious in nature once we started to discuss our jobs… our men… our homes… and we both came to the realization that while we admired each others life choices and direction, we were overly critical of our own lives and accomplishments. And man, how sad is that!?!?  Being in your twenties can suck– but hopefully not most of the time.  And in those times of self doubt, remember these five tips!  :)

1.  Everyone is in the same boat

I don’t know a single lady out there who is not constantly worried about some aspect of her life right now.  “Is this the right job?” “Am I settling?”… “is that a fine line on my forehead!??!!?”  Sometimes it’s best to quiet those voices by talking to a girlfriend.  Call your bff, and I can guarantee that the conversation will end with, “phew, at least it’s not just me.”

2. It’s never too late

This is my dad’s favorite saying.  Not just because it’s catchy, but because it’s true.  It is NEVER too late to change your mind.  If you’re not happy, DO something about it!  Nothing is out of reach, you just have to work for it.  It may not happen over night… but eventually we all will get to our place of BLISS.

3. Confidence comes with experience

I’ve heard from so many women, that our twenties are for finding ourselves, and our thirties are for owning it.  It takes time to figure out who we are and what we want.  Trust that you are where you’re supposed to be right now, take the time to get to know yourself and love yourself… and then good things are bound to come.

4. Meditate

Finding patience and self-awareness is key.  So many friends of mine have started to meditate every day… for just 10 minutes, we can take the time to listen to our bodies, quiet our minds and prepare ourselves– putting our best mental energy forward to embrace whatever the day has to bring.  Find that special time for yourself– one thing I’m learning is that we (as women) can’t be everything for everyone… make yourself a priority every day… even if it’s just for a 10 minute meditation.

5. When in doubt… walk or run.

Exercising and being amongst nature is essential to our happiness.  Let’s get those endorphins to kick in while taking in the birds chirping and sun shining.  You will immediately feel more empowered, healthy and confident.  I guarantee it.

Remember– This is OUR time ladies!  – to explore and try new things!! You are AMAZING.  So start every new day with the attitude that YOU can make it better than the last!

photo by: Sam Zachrich

HUSTLE & FLOW: the benefits of spinning

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hustle and flow 001 (2)Dear Diary,

Very few people can get me out of bed at 7:15 AM for a spin class… but my friend Jo Ann Mendelson is one of them.  To be honest, spin classes have always terrified me.  Yoga session?  I’m there!  Dance party?  I’m there!  Tequila?  I’m definitely there!  But anything that involves sprinting… count me out.

LA is a fitness haven, so while I love to indulge in all sorts of exercise trends (through groupons obviously… they’re the only affordable deals in this town!)… I’ve spent the last four years choosing to ignore all the fabulous spin houses popping up around our great city… that was until my friend Jo Ann convinced me to try one of her classes at Hustle & Flow right by Venice Beach.

hustle and flow 019 (2)I usually leave a spin class feeling like I have developed symptoms of PTSD– flashbacks of the screaming instructor, sweat stains in places I didn’t know I could sweat… and tears of terror and exhaustion running down my face… but thanks to Jo Ann’s upbeat and fun attitude, my symptoms vanished!  And while the sweat stains and exhaustion were still present, I felt more rejuvenated and confident on the bike than ever before!

I survived!

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I would show you guys the after shot… but trust me, it ain’t pretty.  Don’t be fooled by Jo Ann’s contagious smile– she’s a beast in the studio!

Being a newbie to the spinning world, I had a lot of questions… and after such a successful class… I knew the perfect girl to ask :)  Thanks Jo Ann!

How did you get into spinning?
I started spinning about 5 years ago when a girl I went to college with posted on Facebook that anyone could try her class for free. “Free” is my favorite number, so I went for it. Spin ended up being a challenge… I  loved  it, and as a teacher, my friend delivered the perfect blend of humor, compassion, and ass kicking.  Fast forward to today and I’ve followed that instructor to four different studios, including here at Hustle & Flow where she’s now my boss, our badass owner & fearless leader Nicole Sciacca!
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What sets hustle & flow apart?
I’ve been to studios and gyms all over LA, and the community Nicole has built here at H&F is really unique. We joke that we’re the “Cheers” of fitness studios because everybody knows your name!
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Why spin? Also what are your feelings about fitness and a healthy life style in general?
For me, spin is a dance party on a bike. I get to rock out and challenge my body at the same time. I recently wrote a blog for the H&F website all about my fitness philosophy titled “If it’s not fun, I don’t have time for it”. That’s the key. Find something you look forward to doing that is good for you and you’re set!
What are the benefits of this workout? People are always concerned about getting thick legs from spinning… (aka me since I have a love/hate relationship with my legs to begin with) myth or fact?
Who is this phantom spinner with huge legs everyone keeps telling me about??? The short version is this: look at the body composition of sprinters versus marathon runners. “Dash” runners tend to have more bulk muscle while distance runners tend to be more lean because each is doing a different type of work training a different type of muscle. In my spin classes, we train both types of muscles and work in both aerobic and anaerobic zones to deliver a well-rounded cardio workout. Bottom line: everybody relax! You will NOT bulk up unless you are part of the Muscle Beach crowd who is training day and night for that result. I could go on and on about this, but if you want to read more, check out this awesome article from the folks over at the Indoor Cycling Association.
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On a related note: LADIES! Stop hating your thighs, arms, tummies, whatever it is! This is a huge concern for me, and I address this in my classes. You will NEVER hear me motivating students with the promise of thinner thighs or wash-board abs. Yes, weight-loss is often the desired result of a fitness plan but my class is based on how you FEEL. When I’m on the instructor bike, you are in a strict “no haters” zone. Instead of wishing your thighs didn’t jiggle, think about all the FREAKIN’ RAD stuff they do for you every single day. For example, how they pushed you all the way through that killer 8 minute hill that your masochistic spin instructor gave you!  And FYI: fitness instructors are not immune to insecurity. I struggled a lot when I began teaching with the fact that all the other teachers and even some of my students were in better shape than me! The point is to work with what you’ve got and focus on getting stronger, going farther, or pushing harder.
I always feel that I’m not properly seated on my bike– it was so great that you came over and readjusted my seat (ladies make sure you’re not leaning too much on your bike handles– focus on that core! You’ll feel the difference!) Any tips on how to make sure you’re getting the most of your work out?
In any fitness program, proper use of equipment is CRUCIAL to safety & results. When in doubt, ask the instructor. That’s our job!
I love the great music you play girl! i think that’s my favorite part of about spin class– whats your favorite tune to cycle to right now!?
I love getting to play “DJ” when i teach. My music is really eclectic – rock, pop, rap, mash-ups, movie theme songs (seriously!) – nothing is out of bounds. This month in my classes it’s “New Music November” where I’m asking all my students to go on my Facebook page and request what they want to hear. As a student, if I can’t get into the music the class feels like torture, so I want to give the people what they want! For me personally though, I just saw Blink 182 play at the Wiltern, so you’ll probably hear some pop-punk circa 2001 sneaking into my classes in the next few weeks.
Tell me more about that event coming up on Sunday!
One Sunday of every month, H&F sets aside time for a special community event called Sunday Funday Sober Spin. You don’t have to be in recovery yourself – maybe you support someone in the program, support the process or simply want a rowdy, 1 hour ride with a crew who is all about “progress, not perfection”. Our next one will be this Sunday, November 17th at 12:45pm!

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Anything else you would like to share?
Spin is the “hustle” in H&F, but i also highly recommend getting your “flow” on in our yoga classes. The teachers are knowledgeable and so much fun, it will definitely take your practice to a different level. You can find me taking yoga before or after i teach spin pretty much every day of the week! By the way, my classes are 10:15am M/F or 7:15am T/W/Th. we’ll even be open on thanksgiving morning so you can get your sweat on before you dive into the stuffing & pumpkin pie! IMG_0069

What more could you ask for!?

WHY IS SLEEP IMPORTANT? BEAUTY.HEALTH…AND MENTAL HEALTH.

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SLEEP
Dear Diary,

Another Valentine’s Day has come and gone… but the memories will last forever (sighhhh).  This was the cheesy thought I had as I was getting to bed late after a night of ‘wining and dining’ with my man.  Due to our crazy schedules, it’s become a habit for us to get into bed late and wake up very early… and while he doesn’t seem to have any trouble falling asleep (thirty seconds after his head hits the pillow, he’s out like a light), I’m not so lucky.  Unfortunately for those around me, I am quite cranky when lacking sleep.  After a long day, the “function” switch shuts off in my head, and suddenly I’m crying; throwing a tantrum in the middle of my kitchen over a spilled potato chip… “You don’t understannnnd!  I wanted THAT potato chip,” I cry!

This kind of tired is called overtired; and unfortunately when you’re THIS busy, like so many of us fierce women are, it’s easy to become overtired, overwhelmed, and even too tired to fall asleep! It’s a vicious cycle!

The importance of sleep is simple… if you don’t get enough, several BAD things can happen to you:

1)  Gain Weight:  Sleep deprivation causes one to make poorer food choices.  And if you’re not getting enough sleep, your metabolism will not function properly.

2) Bad Skin: Less sleep results in a greater number of stress hormones that will show up in the form of zits all over your pretty face!  Plus lack of sleep will lead to dull, dehydrated skin!

And last but not least…

3) Inability to Function like a NORMAL HUMAN BEING!!!!

All of these are important, wouldn’t you agree? The worst though might be the third, losing a sense of reality…

Well going back to my story of Valentine’s night, after being showered by love, kisses, and cuddled just the way I like it; I was finally starting to drift off to sleep after several hours of staring at my ceiling…. I awoke suddenly.

Not by the obnoxious ring of my alarm clock, but by an obnoxious noise that seemed to be coming from the person next to me.

Startled, I look to my left and see my boyfriend sleeping– he appears to be in a deep sleep but his mouth is moving and I hear a faint whisper.  Chanting perhaps? Could this be real paranormal activity?  Where’s the camera?

I check the clock and it flashes 3AM.  Now if you’ve EVER seen a horror movie… the possessed are always most active at 3AM!  Suddenly, I hear a faint drip from the bathroom faucet… didn’t I shut that off?  After contemplating whether a spirit would pop out if I dared to move, I finally summoned the courage to check… but when I did– the sink was off!

Now some may think these delusions are real… others might think that they’re a figment of my imagination due to lack of sleep!  Either way… I never want to have another night like that.

A SLEEP ROUTINE will keep overtired-ness at bay and allow you to sleep soundly all night long– avoiding the monster under the bed:
1) Drink Sleepy time or chamomile tea to relax your body!
2) Exercise!
3) Shut down electronics by a certain time and have a bedtime routine! I know it might sound silly or childish, but hey it works!  Make sleep time, YOU time!
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Skinny Fat Girl Diary